Bill Gates transferred billions in shares to wife Melinda same day separation was announced

Melinda and Bill Gates.
Melinda and Bill Gates. Photo credit: File

Microsoft founder Bill Gates transferred US$2 billion in shares to his estranged wife on the same day she filed for divorce. 

Gates' announced on Tuesday he and Melina, his wife of 27 years, were ending their marriage. 

That same day, Gates'  investment firm Cascade Investment LLC sent more than 14 million shares of Canadian Railway Co, worth US$1.53 billion, and more than 2.9 million shares of AutoNation Inc, estimated to be worth approximately US$309 million, TMZ reports. 

The shares are just a fraction of the couple's estimated US$176 billion fortune.

Although Gates' statement on Twitter seemed harmonious, divorce documents obtained by Yahoo Finance revealed the marriage is beyond repair. 

"This marriage is irretrievably broken. We ask the court to dissolve our marriage and find that our marital community ended on the date stated in our separation contract," read the document.

It also showed the couple had a separation agreement, but not a prenup - and with Bill's fortune estimated over US$130 billion, it may make the divorce very difficult.

Gates' Twitter post says the pair will continue to work together on their charitable organisation the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, which was established in 2000 and to date has spent US$53.8 billion on philanthropic projects.

The former couple signed a separation agreement ahead of the divorce filing, TMZ reports, with the stock transfer indicating they are already making progress in dividing assets.